I usually just lurk around the forums, but after attending last night's game I feel like I have a couple of points to add to the ever expanding speculation surrounding this game.
First, Manning's three INTs in the first quarter were purely read problems. I believe after his first interception, he was looking for a security blanket in someone he could trust to run the correct routes, that man being Stokley. The final two interceptions were on the same sort of route (a seam route). Peyton should have adjusted and thrown the ball outside to DT after looking inside. I am very surprised that he did not adjust quicker, but, after all, it is only his second real game in a year. His arm strength is still just as good as ever, there was one out route to Decker early in the game that really assured me of that.
I am not one to make excuses for the Broncos, but the Knowshon fumble towards the end of the quarter was an absolute killer. I do not know what you guys were able to see on TV, but what occurred at the game was completely ludicrous. First of all, the refs never, and I repeat NEVER, indicated which team had recovered the ball. After a scrum, a punch thrown by one of the Falcon's defenders (which let me add he was NOT ejected), John Fox almost having a heart attack, and Franklin emerging from the pile with the ball, miraculously the Falcons were awarded the ball. The was a pivotal point in the game. We were driving, and with the 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct we would have had the ball on the 15, with a chance to cut the lead to 3 points. How this play was not reviewed by the booth I do not know. Aren't all turnovers subject to booth review? This play itself was enough to make the refs look terrible....
The officials absolutely inhibited the flow of the game. Any sort of hurry up offense that the Broncos would have liked to run was slowed significantly throughout the game. The first half itself took 2 hours. The missed calls, the weak defensive PIs, and many other calls greatly impacted this game. Fox even had to waste a challenge on a PI that should have never been called because the ball was tipped in the first place. I think that this game will make the league make a drastic move to getting the real refs back.
The defense played well in my opinion. We all knew that the Falcons WRs were going to rack up some yards. Despite the ten points handed to the Falcons on a golden platter, they did what they needed to do in order to win the game. The fact that after the turnovers and officiating that we were still in the game is a great testament to this team. We absolutely need to put more pressure with our 4 and 5 rush plays. Elvis, where are you man? We need those sacks!! Great job on run defense, Turner had no where to run all night. The Broncos have a lot to work on... but against an elite team, with an anomaly of a first quarter from PM, we were still in a position to win the game at the end. I expect the Broncos to build off this, and with far fewer mistakes/ overall exceptions to how they normally play, this team will be on the right track to make a playoff run.
Id also like to add that the atmosphere in the Dome was incredible last night, one of the best I have ever see at a professional game. The Broncos will be hard pressed to find a harder place to hear Peyton's calls. Also, big ups for Bronco Nation... Towards the end of the game when the Falcons were trying to ice it, there were defense chants resonating throughout the stadium. It made me proud to see such a huge turnout.
Any thoughts guys? I really do think that this team can look at this game with a positive outlook. 8/10 I think we beat the Falcons, even with all of the adversity that the Broncos had to face.